FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Amy Davies, Lee County Department of Transportation, (239) 479-8589
CAUSEWAY: ESSENTIAL VEHICLES
OVERWEIGHT PERMITS/PLAN FOR OTHER VEHICLES IN WORKS
FORT MYERS, Fla. (February 11, 2003) - Lee County's Department of Transportation will begin immediately issuing overweight truck permits for ESSENTIAL services supplying Sanibel and Captiva, which will allow them to cross the causeway during specified pre-dawn hours.
Based on recommendations from a recent inspection, the county lowered the weight restriction on the three causeway bridges Feb. 6 from 34 tons to between 17 and 24 tons depending on the number of axles and weight distribution of a truck. Speed on the Sanibel Causeway's bridges also was lowered from 35 mph to 20 mph. The plan for essential vehicles is as follows:
1. The vehicles must fall into the category of "essential cargo" as determined by Lee DOT and the City of Sanibel. Those include garbage trucks, gas and propane gas trucks, trucks carrying chemicals for utilities and city services, and grocery trucks serving the island's grocery and drug stores. ESSENTIAL SERVICES ARE THOSE SUPPORTING PUBLIC SERVICES AND HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELFARE. CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY VEHICLES ARE NOT CONSIDERED ESSENTIAL CARGO.
2. The vehicles must receive an overweight permit from Lee DOT (Betsy Rowan at 479-8511).
3. The vehicles will be allowed over the bridges, one at a time, between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. each morning. They can go onto Sanibel between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. leaving every six minutes controlled by the toll plaza, and return to the mainland between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.
4. Maximum speed will be from 5 mph to 10 mph.
5. Maximum permit weights, depending on number of axles, will be -
a. SU2 17 tons
b. SU3 28 tons
c. SU4 28 tons
d. C3 28 tons
e. C4 36 tons
f. C5 40 tons
Employees at the toll plaza and a
sheriff's deputy will manage the queue of trucks during this period.
FROM 1 A.M. TO 4 A.M. NIGHTLY, BEGINNING THURSDAY A.M., ALL VEHICLES WITHOUT PERMITS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED OVER THE CAUSEWAY, UNLESS IT IS DETERMINED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT TO BE AN EMERGENCY. The county still is working on a plan for allowing other overweight commercial vehicles, primarily related to the construction industry, to cross the causeway. That plan will be announced once it is finalized. Emergency vehicles (police, EMS, fire) will be allowed to cross whether or not there are trucks on the bridges.